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Dogs with Craniofacial Defects Help Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Patients Embrace Differences During “Best Friends Bash” at Penn Vet

By: Ashley Berke Date: Jul 18, 2013

[July 18, 2013; Philadelphia, PA] – On the evening of Wednesday, July 17, 20 craniofacial patients from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) had the opportunity to meet four canines with similar conditions at the first ever “Best Friends Bash” at Penn Vet.


This meaningful partnership between Penn Vet and CHOP helped children see how dogs are affected by similar problems and how they have adapted. During the event, CHOP patients interacted with four Penn Vet patients:

Lentil, a French Bulldog puppy who had surgery to repair his cleft palate

Georgia, a Gordon Setter who had a cancer removed from her upper jaw

Buddy, a Golden Retriever who had part of his lower jaw removed

Rosie, a Golden Retriever therapy dog who had part of her foot removed due to a tumor, and is a member of CHOP’s Paw Partners pet therapy team

“It was incredibly powerful watching these remarkable kids interact with these remarkable dogs,” said John Lewis, VMD, Associate Professor of Dentistry and Oral Surgery at Penn Vet. “These canine patients serve as specialized therapy dogs, so children can really relate to them. Since both the dogs and children are dealing with the same problems and treatments, there’s an instant bond that allows the children to realize they are not alone.”

“Craniofacial problems are complex medical conditions that can also negatively impact children's feelings about themselves,” said Scott P. Bartlett, MD, Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at CHOP. “Despite this, our patients show great resilience and strength. They strive to return normalcy to their lives — often while coping with major surgeries and other therapies throughout their childhood and adolescence. Events like this are a great opportunity for these children to see how dogs affected by similar problems have adapted.”

Also in attendance were clinicians and nurses from CHOP’s Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Penn Vet’s dentistry and oral surgery team, who discussed cases and learned from each other’s techniques.

The Best Friends Bash was funded by a grant from Penn’s Center for Human Appearance.

About CHOP

About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program receives the highest amount of National Institutes of Health funding among all U.S. children’s hospitals. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit

About Penn Vet

Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the world's premier veterinary schools. Founded in 1884, the School was built on the concept of Many Species, One Medicine™. The birthplace of veterinary specialties, the School serves a distinctly diverse array of animal patients, from pets to horses to farm animals at our two campuses. In Philadelphia, on Penn's campus, are the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital for companion animals, as well as classrooms, laboratories and the School's administrative offices. The large-animal facility, New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square, Pa., encompasses hospital facilities for the care of horses and food animals as well as diagnostic laboratories serving the agriculture industry. The School has successfully integrated scholarship and scientific discovery with all aspects of veterinary medical education. Visit us on-line at